Monday, February 7, 2011

Realities of Motherhood Part 2: Bodies

Welcome back to my series of Realities of Motherhood! Today's topic is baby's body.

Killer on the Bilibed. It's a bed of UV lights (no, it  doesn't tan 
him or give him radiation) that is used to get rid of jaundice

So we all know that babies are just little people. They have all the parts of an adult, just in a smaller package. Common knowledge of course. Well what's not common knowledge, or what wasn't common knowledge for me, is that babies' bodies do not work as well as adult bodies. First up is jaundice. I did not realize that jaundice was so common in newborns until my own son had it. Jaundice is caused by the liver not properly cleaning the bilirubin out of the body. Bilirubin is the breakdown of heme which is found in hemoglobin which makes up red blood cells. Bilirubin is secreted in urine and bile. If there is too much in the blood it is poisonous and the person will likely turn yellow: jaundice is born! Newborns often get it because the liver isn't working properly, it hasn't developed as completely as it should, as completely as an adults (though adults can and do get jaundice).

Another way in which babies' bodies aren't as properly functional as an adults is in the presence of spit-up. I know I already talked about this, but it is relevant to this post as well. Newborns/infants spit up because the little flap that closes the opening between the esophagus and the stomach isn't strong enough to stay closed, hence a little bit gets spit up every now and again (or all the time if the baby is my little Killer).

So the advice for the day is: do not expect your baby's body to function as nicely as yours does. Sometimes it's problematic (as in jaundice) and sometimes it's just a little inconvenient (spit-up). Baby's are confusing, because you can never be sure exactly what's wrong with them, because they can't talk and their bodies don't always function as perfectly as they should. Good luck with your own adventures in parenthood!

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